Now it is officially December and the first day of Advent I have decided to get into the Christmas spirit with a Christmassy background. I know Ponsettias aren't to everybody's taste but I love them.
With November drawn to a close it's that time again to take a look at what I've achieved with regard to my personal and financial goals this month. The month has passed pretty quickly and it's been a straightforward stay at home month for us, save for a few outings to a couple of events, where I have spent a little money.
I've continued to pay the balance off one credit card this month and am in the process of paying another chunk off the other one, hopefully leaving myself in a position to pay both off next month. I may need to spend on them a little in December to buy the remainder of the Christmas presents I need to get, but if I do the balances will be paid off in January and I will then use the cards for internet purchases only and hopefully not to pay for things I do not have the cash to pay for, with the exception of emergencies of course.
It is a close run thing achieving this goal as the expense of Christmas and after school clubs for next term are looming, just as I'm approaching the final hurdle. I feel a bit like I'm firefighting in a financial sense, but hopefully next year will bring a new considered and careful approach to spending and finances.
No nonsense November has gone reasonably well. Yes, I have still spent on a few non-essentials, namely some wellies, some second hand books, some socks and washi tapes, but on the whole I've been pretty disciplined for me. I've spent many a day at home crafting, doing housework or spending time on my business avoiding the urge to go out and spend any money and as a consequence I have managed to finish a few projects and start a few more at no cost due to already having the materials necessary.
I've managed another 10 No Spend days this month taking my yearly total to 80 so far and I have now extended my yearly target by another five and am aiming for 85 for the year. I am trying to be realistic with this new total, as December is going to involve quite a bit of spending, on the remaining presents to be bought and food shopping for the festive holiday, so I'm not going to give myself an unrealistic target. If I manage more then that is great, if not, I can feel secure in the knowledge that I have far exceeded the 50 I originally set myself for the year, and the 38 I managed last year.
I've had a good month on the Beauty Challenge front and not so good a month on the Household Challenge front and have stuck to my menu plan once again this month. Towards the end of the month I've been trying to use up food in the freezer and cupboards, partly to minimise spending and partly to empty the freezer so that I can defrost it before Christmas. Other than the spending mentioned already, I have confined any spending to Christmas provisions and Christmas presents.
Unfortunately, I have had to cancel my milk delivery this month after 7 years, due to the fact that it was regularly getting taken from the doorstep. (Sadly, one of my neighbours is now suffering this problem I'm afraid, as the perpetrator has moved on to someone else). This somewhat took the convenience out of having it delivered. Having finally decided to cancel I am back to buying milk at the supermarket and quite surprised at how inexpensive it is compared to delivery, so I guess that is a kind of silver lining. I did like having it delivered though and it was helping to provide employment for someone, which is why I continued for so long.
So where do I go in December? Closer to debt freedom I hope. There are some last minute presents to buy for some family members and OH and I will be required to pay for Little Birds trampolining classes which are due again and any after school clubs I sign her up for next year, which will be somewhat unplanned for as I forgot about them. Other than these, it will be all systems go getting what we need for Christmas/Boxing Day meals. I've been buying a few bits and pieces over the last few months, but the real expense starts now with meat and other foods we might want to eat. I have put a few pounds on an Asda savers card in the last few months, but to be honest didn't manage a lot. Maybe £20 or so, but this will still come in handy for last minute buys. I think I will continue with this idea in the New Year though as it will help me be a bit more organised for Christmas next year.
I've now planned our meals in the weeks leading up to Christmas and I'm sticking to very ordinary homely fayre so that our Christmas meal will feel special and not just every day. I will still be donating to the Food Bank next month and am hoping to include a few Christmassy items in the donation, but without overspending too much. I have placed my Approved Food order and am awaiting delivery, so that should help to keep the food costs down a little.
I must admit that I am almost looking forward to January already, and a relatively normal month again without any Christmas pressures, but I'm not going to let them spoil Christmas for me. I just have to remember to cut my clothes according to my cloth and not let myself overspend. I think that is probably the most difficult thing for me about Christmas. I hope all your Christmas shopping and preparations are coming along okay?